The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 31, 2013

Robin L. Quillon | Like boat captains in a storm, parents navigate rough times

— Many years ago, I was invited to go fishing on the Delaware Bay with a few good friends.

I’d never before been on that body of water, but I knew of its reputation as being dangerous.

As we motored to our destination far out into the waters, the captain regaled us with stories of how the Delaware Bay could turn on you in an instant. He briefed us on what to do in case it did just that.

“If I tell you to do something, trust me and do it without hesitation,” he sternly warned. Then he assured us all would be well and that the radar showed no signs of trouble.

The fishing was great and we landed some real take-home catches. However, about late afternoon, out of nowhere, the horizon turned black and the waves kicked up something awful. The captain  called us all to the wheelhouse and barked instructions: “Pull in the lines, boys, and put on your life jackets. We must get the boat in a position to safely survive this front that is moving in     quickly.”

He then pointed to the radar screen, advising us to take a look.

All I saw on the screen was red, and assumed that was not a good thing. “Survive! He must be joking,” I thought.

I soon learned he wasn’t.

We all hustled, doing what the captain asked, and then returned to the wheelhouse to hunker down. The mood was hushed as we watched our leader and his first mate do their thing.

The wind, rain and waves pounded our little vessel. He instructed the first mate – his wife – to toss out the anchors fore and aft to hold the boat’s position.

She did exactly that.

However, he then shouted to be prepared to lift and shift the anchors as the storm approached. You see, he wanted to keep the boat pointed into the waves so we would not capsize.

It was impressive to watch this experienced man of the sea and his first mate maneuver the boat into a position to save our lives.

The storm passed, and soon we were  back again fishing. We caught even more fish than before the storm, thanks to a captain and first mate who knew what to do when it really counted.

All of us at, one time or another, in our lives face threatening storms. They come in many shapes and sizes. And if we are not anchored properly, or prepared, many vessels could be lost. 

The most important work any mother or father will ever do is within the walls of their own homes. Together, Mom and Dad, side by side, are the good captains in the wheelhouses of their ships. They do their best.

Are they perfect? No. 

Goodness knows the assault on the role of mother and father in the sacred family unit is under intense barrage from those who seek to literally destroy it. The misguided belief that mother and father are optional or interchangeable equipment in the lives of children is growing exponentially. This effort to dismantle the family will only increase in intensity as more and more morally bankrupt people are in positions to advance this insidious agenda.

The strength of this nation lies in the family, where mother and father work together to prepare their young for an uncertain world – each bringing to the table a different set of skills and influence important in the development of their children. These differences are critical and, I believe, by grand design.

To those who hold dear the traditional values of the family unit and the role of mother and father in the lives of children, I say again that the most important work you will ever do is within the walls of your own home.

Despite the raging storms, hold firm to your convictions and let your voices be heard where it counts.

Throw out your anchors and be prepared to face this assault on the family by this misguided movement of anything goes.

Robin L. Quillon is the publisher of The Tribune-Democrat and senior              vice president, Allegheny Division, of CNHI News Service. He can be reached at

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads